Brooks Koepka’s post US PGA press conference highlighted a very real but often unexposed phenomenon – the angry golfer. Yes, we the people who play the game know about experiencing anger on the golf course. It can be one of the most frustrating games to play and it can render a frothing furious red eyed monster. Golf would probably turn Bruce Banner into the Hulk, especially with all that green skin. There has been whispering around Koepka’s performance being a green eyed monster because of a childhood incident involving Phil Mickelson knocking him back for an autograph. Somehow, I cannot imagine Brooks chasing anybody’s signature at whatever age.
Brooks Koepka Appears Perennially Angry
Brooks Koepka strikes me as perennially putout and pissed off. He has an angry countenance as a default position. The seemingly out of control crowd scenes on the eighteenth fairway at Kiawah Island obviously gave him good cause to vent his rage at losing and being treated indifferently by Phil-mad fans. The Hulk-like Koepka was outplayed and outputted by a long-standing star in the golfing stratosphere. The angry golfer was exposed centre stage and the cursing came across as decidedly poor sportsmanship. I was reminded of how classy Greg Norman was after being trounced by Nick Faldo at the Masters in 1996.
Good Sports Thin on the Ground
Sportsmanship and the concept of being a good sport has not enjoyed a lot of positive airtime in recent decades as young wunderkinds have emerged in golf. Achieving greatness before you have turned 21 does not lend itself to grace and wisdom in the face of disappointment. Entitlement has, perhaps, crept its way to the podium in the guise of all these white belted fresh faced college kids at the top of the game. The angry golfer could be the shadow side of this youthful onslaught reaping victories across the PGA tours.
Golf is about perfection whatever Bob Rotella might say. The perfect strike of a small white sphere being struck vast distances. The perfectly rolled putt disappearing into the hole on the green. The perfect chip to a difficult pin position. The perfectly played bunker shot finishing so close to the hole or going in. Perfect, perfect, perfecting the perfect is what golf demands at the highest level. In reaction to countless failures at achieving these levels of perfection we all get angry. How we deal with this anger determines our success and enjoyment on the golf course.
Some golfers play angry and maybe Brooks Koepka is one of these. A simmering pot ambulating around eighteen holes of golf. Johnny Rotten aka Lydon told us that “anger is an energy”. Channelling that energy may provide the angry golfer with the power to reach par 5s in two. May give him or her the focus to get the job done over four plus hours. May engender the competitive edge required to win. Anger may fill their bodies with superhero force to do battle with the course and other golfers. The angry golfer does not necessarily need to be an ugly blight on the game, it just looks that way on TV.